Turkey Hunting: Turkey Factories

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With turkey populations exploding across the United States, thanks in part to the National Wild Turkey Federation and numerous federal and state conservation organizations, modern-day spring turkey hunters have more options for filling their tags than their predecessors.  Wild turkeys are now found in all states with the exception of Alaska, and nearly every state is home to healthy and established flock. 
We wanted to take a look at which states have the highest densities of wild turkeys based on the population relative to the area of the state.  While certain states such as Texas, Georgia, and Kansas come to mind when you think of boat loads of turkeys, a few of the states in our top ten were somewhat surprising to us.  Keep in mind this list is based off of the most recent estimates provided by state natural resource divisions.
Alabama: Estimated 500,000 turkeys, 52463 sq. miles=9.51 turkeys per sq. mile
Tennessee: Estimated 310,000 turkeys, 42,146 sq. miles=7.36 turkeys per sq. mile
Pennsylvania: Estimated 325,000 turkeys, 46,058 sq. miles=7.06 turkeys per sq. mile
Kentucky: Estimated 220,000 turkeys, 40,411 sq. miles=5.44 turkeys per sq. mile
Vermont: Estimated 50,000 turkeys, 9,615 sq. miles=5.2 turkeys per sq. mile
Georgia: Estimated 300,000 turkeys, 59,425 sq. miles=5.04 turkeys per sq. mile
Mississippi: Estimated 227,000 turkeys, 48,434 sq. miles=4.69 turkeys per sq. mile
New York: Estimated 250,000 turkeys, 54,556 sq. miles=4.58 turkeys per sq. mile
Ohio: Estimated 200,000 turkeys, 44,825 sq. miles=4.46 turkeys per sq. mile
Missouri: Estimated 300,000 turkeys, 69,709 sq. miles=4.3 turkeys per sq. mile
As you can see, only one state west of the Mississippi River is found on this list.  While many western states such as Texas and Nebraska have very strong statewide populations, turkeys are more concentrated in the western states than those in the east.  Vast areas in states such as California do not hold turkeys, and the overall size of many western states dilutes the population in those states.
While Alabama and Pennsylvania have long been considered among the premier states in the country for spring turkey hunting, states such as Tennessee and Kentucky have seen their turkey populations explode in the last thirty years due in part to aggressive restocking and conservation efforts.  Among the surprises on the list was Vermont, a state often overlooked for its excellent turkey hunting.
Be sure to keep this list in mind when you are planning your next turkey hunting trip, and as evidenced by Vermont’s presence on the list, don’t look past so-called “sleeper” states, as many are home to excellent hunting opportunities.
Wild Turkey Report Staff
Wild Turkey Report is the internet's new destination for information on the sport of turkey hunting. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wildturkeyreport and on Twitter @wildturkeyreprt!
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